When the Flyers concluded play before the holiday break on Dec. 23, the holiday spirit was alive and well. They had just defeated the New York Rangers, 5-1, to head into the break with a 21-11-5 record through 37 games. Just shy of the halfway point of the season, they were up to 21 wins simply replicating that kind of production would easily put them above 95 points and likely into the playoff picture.
That was before the annual post-Christmas trip out West as Disney on Ice takes over Wells Fargo Center.
It was a trip that the Flyers had posted a 2-13-3 in the previous four seasons. But this season was already starting to feel different. The Flyers were playing very competitive hockey. There was rarely a game that they weren’t at least knocking on the door of points. They had even entered the break with a four-game winning streak, an authoritative response to a three-game losing streak on the road the week they all learned of Oskar Lindblom’s Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosis. It made that one week feel like more of a one-off than a trend. Even with a road record of 8-9-1 on the season, the Flyers had seen times when they could be just as competitive away from home. Their month of November as a whole was tremendous, so much so that you may not realize they actually had a better record on the road than at home -- 6-2-0 on the road and 4-0-4 at home.
But a 1-4-1 record on the six-game road trip that concluded on Tuesday has certainly changed all narratives. The Flyers are facing an important crossroads as the schedule returns to feature plenty of games at home -- six of the next seven games in fact.
Before providing perspective on the road trip as a whole, here’s how the road trip went from bad to worse in a hurry night by night.